In 1799, New York passed a law gradually emancipating slaves, but that did not erase hostility toward African Americans. The nonstop arrival of white immigrants displaced skilled black laborers, who were forced into menial jobs, like “tubmen” or outhouse cleaners.
Anti-black feelings also led to violence. In July, 1863, the Draft Riots broke out in New York. What started as a protest against the rich who could buy their way out of serving as soldiers in the Civil War, turned into a rampage against black New Yorkers.
Many who fell into the hands of the mob were tortured and killed, including one man who was beaten with clubs and paving stones, before being hanged from a tree and set on fire. Even the Colored Orphan Asylum on Fifth Avenue was torched. No one knows the exact death toll, but some estimates put it as high as 2,000.
1. Cotton Is King
2. Freed Slaves Trapped
3. Northern Imperialism
4. Black Labor Serves Cotton
5. Civil Rights Protests
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